Day 13 - Budapest to Vienna
Sadly all good things must come to an end, and so the first Kings and Castles tour of 2018 must too. It's been a great two weeks for all - we started this tour as motorcyclists, and we leave it as friends! Best of luck to everyone for their next endeavours, and we hope to see you on tour again sometime soon!
The Basilica of Esztergom, Hungary's tallest building!
The canvas above the alter in the Basilica is the largest painting on a single canvas in the world!
A fantastic view over the Danube from the rear of the Basilica
The Basilica is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Tony made a great picnic for lunch!
Perry and Gerry enjoy the fruits of their labour
All the ducks lined up in a row
The memorial at the site of the Pan European Picnic, and our picnic place for the day
And here's the entire team! It's been a great tour!
Day 12 - Budapest
A little spring in the air atop the Buda Castle
A much smaller group today, travelling on the Hop On Hop Off bus - Budapest is a big city, too big for walking!
Enjoying the view from Buda Castle
The Hussars of the Buda Castle
Matthias Church from the outside
The exquisite interior of Matthias Church
Glass patterns inside Matthias Church
Glass patterns inside Matthias Church
And today happened to be the day of the Red Bull Air Race - incredible to watch the planes flying up and down the Danube
Inside the Produce Market
A fantastic dinner at Bistro Fine in Budapest
And then a little coffee and cake afterwards
Mmmm Dobos Cake! A Hungarian specialty
Day 11 - Rajecke Teplice to Budapest
Another day, another country. After a quick stop in the beautiful village Cicmany we head into the hills and mountains of southern Slovakia for spirited ride, stop for a coffee at a castle hidden in the forest and finally make our way across the river Danube and into Hungary.
Perry and Gerry on the Hungarian border
Day 10 - Krakow to Rajecke Teplice
The historic wooden church in Debno
500 years old! Incredible
We cross into our 5th country for the tour: Slovakia!
Pizza for lunch - a welcome change after so many pork dishes
Below the castle of Orava
Day 09 - Krakow
It's a glorious day in Krakow, Poland's most beautiful city, and it's a perfect day to go exploring. Walking through the old town we discover some of the most interesting sights so far. St. Mary's Basilica, the Cloth Hall and Wawel Castle are just some of the many attractions Krakow is famous for. An excellent traditional lunch is followed by some fantastic ice cream on the town square. We reconvene in the evening and head out for dinner in the heart of the Jewish quarter. Another great day on our tour.
A rest day in Krakow and here are the walkers ready for a city tour by foot
St. Florian's Gate, the entrance to the old town
The near 1000 year old basement of McDonalds!
The old town square, one of the largest in Europe
Walking through the cloth market
Warren at the Old Town Hall tower
Kent, Laura and Sandra and the Old Town Hall in the heart of Krakow
But by now we know that Warren likes to maintain a balanced diet!
Within the grounds of Wawel Castle
Just in case you're wondering
Did somebody say ice cream?!
Day 08 - Stary Jicin to Krakow
Today takes us out of the Czech Republic and into Poland, the fourth country of our tour. A quick blast on the motorway and we reach the border where our route takes us onto small country roads heading further East. Along the route lies the infamous concentration camp of Auschwitz, a memorial to one of the darkest chapters in human history. We take a guided tour of of the camp and pay our respects to the over 1.1 million people murdered here. From here we tackle the last few miles towards Krakow, our home for the next two nights.
It's difficult to imagine what it must have been like here in Auschwitz
Our first introduction to Auschwitz, at the entrance gates to Auschwitz 1
Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity...
A memorial at the killing wall; some colour and life in this dark place
Looking through what was once an electrified fence, onto the remains of Auschwitz II - Birkenau
The end of the train line
Our sombre day ended in the romantic Old Town of Krakow
One of Europe's biggest town squares
The Town Hall Tower, next to the Cloth Hall
Day 07 - Lazne Belohrad to Stary Jicin
The dwarf statues in front of Nove Mestro's castle
All lined up and ready to roll!
In days gone by bears were kept in the moats to discourage people from entering the castle
Warren inspects the disabled Velorex vehicles on display inside the castle
The fantastic wooden bridge at the rear of the castle grounds
The incredible roof of the Neratov church - it was destroyed in the war, and restored quite unauthentically very recently
Chris inspects a WW2 bunker on the Polish border
Sandra, Perry, Stan and Chris on top of the bunker
Lined up on the fence - it really makes you wonder what life would have been like in the war time periods
Our trusty steeds
Waiting for the train to pass
A fantastic dinner setting under ground in Stary Jicin
Marcel receive's his World Tourer T-Shirt. Well done!
Randy has also earned himself the World Tourer title - excellent work!
Day 06 - Dresden to Lazne Belohrad
It is another beautiful day as we leave Dresden behind and head back towards the Czech Republic. Our first stop is on the beautiful little town of Stolpen to visit an old stage coach marker, then on we rode through the sandstone hills of the Zittau mountains. After crossing the border we the ride up the Jeschken moutain, the highest point of today, and take in the sweeping views of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Laura and Gerry at the almost 300 year old stage coach marker. 6 hours from here to Dresden. We are glad to say it did not take us nearly as long as that.
The almost Italian buildings in Zittau´s beautiful town square.
Stan and Chris discussing the finer points of the German roofing styles....
The Czech Jawa. Beautiful!
Our morning breifing
Perry and Gerry on their RT
Randy and Idee on the Tiger
Marcel on his Roadster
Greg and Lee on the RT
Stan with his big guns!
Chris, ready to blow out those pipes!
Warren enjoys the Borek Moto Museum
Look closely - this bike has skis!
Classic, not plastic!
Day 05 - Dresden
The true motorcyclist amongst us who choose to ride on our rest day were rewarded with a stop at Weesenstein Castle, the former western most border of Bohemia
Our dedicated tour members. Ride on!
The Frauenkirche in Dresden - restoration was only completed in 2005. Stunning
Has anybody seen Stan? We were expecting to find him here...
The courtyard of the Zwinger Palace in Dresden
Chris and Stan enjoy a small beer before dinner
Drink it down lads...
Stan the traditionalist; eating a Wiener Schnitzel in Dresden!
It's all about having a balanced diet
The beautiful Frauenkirche by night
And this, on our walk home from dinner; The Zwinger
Day 04 - Prague to Dresden
The view from the castle of Melnik, the convergence of the Vltvar and Elbe rivers and the site of the 'bonehouse'
Greg and Lee enjoy Tony's picnic extravaganza!
But it's all a bit too much for Perry!
Our 3rd country for the tour, Germany!
The wonderful views from Bastei over the Elbe river
Day 03 - Prague
Prague's Old Town Square by night
"It was this big!" Tony's got some great insider information
The 'original' tennis court within the Prague Castle
It was wet, but that didn't stop us!
St. Vitus Cathedral within Prague Castle
Now this guy could keep a straight face!
Our rest day walkers, together on the steps of the castle
Greg and Lee fight over their Trdlo - a local sweet treat
And as we've quickly come to learn on this tour, where we'll find sweets we'll find Warren!
But they're too big for just one person, so thankfully there was enough to share around
Greg giving the local statues a polish - we're not sure if it brings good luck, or if he just wants to make sure that it's clean
A view over the Charles Bridge, back towards the castle
Old Prague, in all her glory!
Marcel making easy work of his pork knuckle!
Day 02 - Budweis to Prague
Our first full day riding in the Czech Republic and it is a beautiful one. Heading south we visit the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site of Cesky Krumlov, then dive deep into the dense woodlands of the Sumava National Park. The roads are tight, twisty and, for the most part, in excellent condition. A true backcountry dream. Heading into Prague our loose group of riders turns into a well-oiled machine and we make it to our hotel in the heart of the city in record time, where the bar is open and serving some excellent local beverages.
The morning briefing
A great view across the waterway from our departure hotel in Budweiss
Marcel, ready to roll!
David and Becky - looking far too comfortable on their RT
Chris might have been the last rider out of the garage, but he's the first rider onto the street!
Greg and Lee roll out of the parking lot
And Kent and Laura round out or group!
Even the overcast sky cannot detract from the beauty of Cesky Krumlov.
Morning coffee in one of the most beautiful towns in Europe.
Prague made a great first impression!
Tony gives us an overview of the local way of life
Prague's Old Town Hall by night
Day 01 - Vienna to Budweis
The whole gang in front of Dürnstein Castle, where the English King Richard the Lionheart was held captive by the Austrian Emperor
A very sincere welcome to all the guests for the first Kings and Castles Tour of 2018. We've had a great start to the tour and are really excited for the 13 days on the road. Vienna to Budweiss today, and tomorrow Prague!
Enjoying the view over Vienna from the top of St. Stephen's cathedral
A very moody view to the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
David enjoying the ferry ride across the Danube
What better way to enjoy the Danube than to cross it by boat!
A healthy meal - fruit and dairy! Warren enjoy an icecream at a Cafe on the Danube
The church of Maria Taferl - such an surprisingly beautiful church
It's interior is exquisite
The incredible view of the Wacchau, over the River Danube
Our second country on the tour; the Czech Republic!
A lovely night stroll in the old city centre of Budweiss